“My aim to detour At-Risk-Youth away from gang life & criminal activity”
My name is Rashan “S-Dog” Williams and I stand before you at the ripe age of 42. I am a proud native of Los Angeles, California where I was born and raised in the tough and gritty section of South Central to be exact. As I take a moment to reflect back on the “City of Angels” it reminds me that L.A. was known for many things such as its palm trees, pretty women, sandy beaches, movie star sightings, nice weather, photographic sceneries, and the list goes on.
While growing up in L.A. as a youth who was always at risk I had a burning desire to bathe in a bathtub full of sin.
A movement was taking place in the streets of Los Angeles or shall I say an epidemic. That epidemic was the presence of street gangs. Most of you are aware that Los Angeles is the birthplace of the Crips & Bloods and as a matter of fact during my years as a teen I attended George Washington Preparatory High School which happens to be ground zero during the formulation of the Crips phenomenon in the late 60’s and early ’70s.
This movement was spearheaded by the late Stanley “Tookie” Williams and his cohort Raymond Washington. The Crips would go on and develop into a very violent and deadly force imposing their will on anyone who looked or acted like opposition to the establishment. The Crips gang slowly started to break up into individual gangs who were still committed to the “Blue bandanna” which gave off immediate recognition to an affiliate of the Crips.
It was a universal fact that the Crips were respected out of fear, not love. As a young kid who was full of negative energy and a mind full of curiosity I had a yearn to swim, not only in a swimming pool but also in the deep and murky waters of the L.A. gang lifestyle. This yearning propelled me to join the 111th Street Neighborhood Crips (Rollin 100’s) at the tender age of 12.
As an active member of the Neighborhood Crips, I attended many funerals of men who in my opinion, died ahead of their time. I’ve witnessed countless shootings, stabbings, beatings, and murders while being trapped in the claws of the gang life wildfires.
I’m now a self-made gang Preventionist/ Interventionist who has aspirations to teach the At-Risk- Youth about the pitfalls of gang banging or simply living a life of crime. Oftentimes misguided youth looks at the gang life as something that signifies manhood and respect. I am now here to inform them that committing crimes is a fast track to disaster. I stand before them as living proof of what the gang mentality amounts to. I’m in my 21st year of a life without parole sentence for 2nd Degree Murder. I’m reaching out to the youth to share this message and to let them know that I’ve been through situations that they don’t have to go through as well. There’s nothing wrong with obtaining an education along with obeying the laws of the land and to make them aware that their actions dictate the landscape of their future.
While I’m still in the stages as a “student of change” I’m prepared to lend my shoulders as a cross-bar to the youth that will in fact assist them in steering clear of the demonic nature of street gangs. This is a mission that I’ve now devoted my life to. I must admit that it wasn’t easy enrolling into this “School of Thought” but it’s in this “School of Thought” that I will remain.
Thank you for listening.
Rashan Williams #00422041
Louisiana State Prison
Angola, La, 70712